FIFA pledges Eur20 million towards new anti-corruption unit

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is seeking re-election to the helm of the organisation on June 1, told reporters the money would be used to set up a dedicated anti-corruption unit in Singapore. “It is crucial for us to go together with political authorities, with police authorities to fight those who want to destroy our game,” Blatter said, according to Reuters.

“I’m a sad president because, after 36 years in FIFA, I thought we would be at the end of a wonderful development of the game,” he added. Interpol secretary general Ron Noble said that match-fixers used “false and violent” methods to move money around the world.

“I’m not surprised by the efforts of trans-national crime,” Noble told reporters. “It’s a high profit with a low risk of getting caught and with online bets there is the opportunity to make huge amounts. It’s a perfect mixture of elements for transnational crime.” Noble added that Asia is a “hotbed” of betting and match-fixing, but Singapore, as one of the “least corrupt countries on the planet”, is an ideal base for the new unit.

FIFA is currently investigating two international friendly matches played in Turkey in February in which seven penalties were awarded. The six match officials involved have been suspended pending the outcome.

However, Noble believes most of the match-fixing cases “involve low level matches”. He added: “At its highest levels, it’s my opinion that football is a clean sport and what spectators see happen on the pitch is legitimately happening on the pitch.”